Deparment of Justice signals no change on ban on strikes by gardaí

European Committee on Social Rights says Ireland in breach of European Social Charter

The Department of Justice has said there will be no change to the Government’s policy of not allowing gardaí to go on strike.

In a report published on Wednesday, the European Committee on Social Rights said Ireland remained in breach of provisions of the European Social Charter.

It said “domestic legislation still prescribes to a complete abolition of the right to strike as far as the police is concerned”.

In response, the department said industrial action by police was banned in many states reprsented at the Council of Europe.


“Many of these states, notwithstanding that they have multiple police services, and separate security and immigration services, prohibit the taking of industrial action by police,” it said.

It said the question of the right to strike was considered by the Murphy working group, which was established by the then Government in 2017 to address the industrial relation structures available to An Garda Síochána.

The group had recommended that constraints on striking should be maintained, it noted.

It said the group found that this created “a particular obligation to ensure that the dispute resolution and negotiation processes to be put in place are robust and effective, and that the members of An Garda Síochána are not disadvantaged as a result”.

The department said the European Committee of Social Rights' report acknowledged "much of the work done by Ireland, including amendments to the Industrial Relations Acts which provide members of An Garda Síochána and the Garda Associations with full and equal access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court".

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent